Renew Your Church (Acts 1:12-14)
To Be a Model Church for All Who Believe (4)
Renew Your Church (Acts 1:12-14) / January 24, 2016
12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
The Bible prophesies that in the end times, Satan will wage war and attack the church to destroy it (Revelation 12:17). The war has already begun. But the church has no idea. That is why many churches have lost strength and are crumbling. There are many ways through which Satan destroys the church, but hardship or persecution is not one of them. Hardships and persecution make the church stronger.
First of all, Satan divides the church by bringing conflicts and quarrels. This is Satan’s specialty: he alienates and divides. Take a look at a church where its members fight one another. Not knowing it is a tremendous spiritual problem, people fight against one another and even take their fight all the way to the court. You must know that no matter what the reason, fighting at home with your family is a spiritual problem. Some say that fighting and arguing ultimately brings you closer and helps resolve conflicts, but it is not true. You receive scars. Only when you realize that Satan is the source of your conflict will you stop fighting and overcome your scars.The Bible prophesies that in the end times, Satan will wage war and attack the church to destroy it (Revelation 12:17). The war has already begun. But the church has no idea. That is why many churches have lost strength and are crumbling. There are many ways through which Satan destroys the church, but hardship or persecution is not one of them. Hardships and persecution make the church stronger.
Second of all, Satan makes it difficult to gather. He will make you lose hold of the blessing of gathering with brothers and sisters in Christ for worship and fellowship through which you receive strength. In the end times, Satan makes you busy and isolate yourself from others and drives you into loneliness.
Third of all, Satan hinders you from receiving grace even at church. What is his chief strategy? You listen to the message, but you cannot concentrate or understand. You cannot focus on the Word. When you understand the Word, everything changes. Even at the verge of death, you will be revived (Ezekiel 37).
The fourth is very important. You do listen to the Word of God, but Satan does not let you understand the spiritual reality or enjoy Christ. In fact, Satan fears only one thing (Matthew 16:16-19). You can participate in church program, help others, or have fellowship with church people all you want. But if you lose hold of Christ, you will fall. By His blood, Christ finished all curses that befell us on an individual level, our families, and the entire world (Priest). He resurrected and destroyed Satan’s authority (King). He is now with us through Immanuel and has become the path in our lives and to eternity (Prophet). Right now, Satan is confusing the church with various ideologies such as syncretism, religious integration, and pluralism.
1. What kind of place is the church? It is a place that proclaims the “Christ of only” and saves you from curses, fate, and spiritual problems. It is a place that God has prepared to fulfill His absolute goal of saving the world.
(1) The church is a place where you must receive courage and consolation first; it is your spiritual home. One of the important roles of a home is that it gives you strength. When you are really tired and weary, you say you want to go home. That is why church members must receive strength through worship and encourage, strengthen and cheer up one another through fellowship (Hebrews 10:24-25).
(2) The church is a place where you must grow spiritually. Unless you have spiritual growth, it is difficult to receive important answers. Most of all, you will always be deceived by Satan. When you are not strong enough to guard yourself, Satan continues to attack you. Do not just end at coming to church on Sunday, but receive training. Parents must realize how important Sunday school is for your children’s training; their imprints, roots, and nature, which will determine the rest of their lives, are formed during Sunday school.
(3) The church is a place where all nations must come together as one and pray in the name of Christ (Mark 11:17), gain strength, and fight the spiritual battle. The church is not a cultural community exclusive to the people of your ethnicity. The church is about all nations becoming one in Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Father (Ephesians 4:4-6), praying together, and going to the world to save all peoples; Multiethnic ministry is a basic tenet of the church. The church is the mystery through which all nations become one family. When they gather and pray, the forces of Darkness in the world crumble.
2. How are we going to renew the church?
(1) You must first understand the fundamentals of the church. In fact, that is the blessing of the gospel.
a. The church is not a building. The word church comes from the Greek word “ikklesia” which means those whom God has called from the world. People who say, “This church is of low level and has no talent,” do not know what the church is. In the church, there exists only one level: it is a gathering of saved children of God. That fact alone gives the church a tremendous meaning. Only when you realize that will you consider yourself and others precious and truly become one. In the church, generals and slaves and all nations become one.
b. The church is a gathering of those whom God called to be His children and temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). Because we are lacking and we fail, God is with us Himself. So when you say, “Why is the church like this?” you are really saying, “Why is God like this? Is this all He can do?” Christ is within us and He will establish God’s kingdom through us in the field that has been covered with Darkness (Matthew 12:28). This is God’s absolute goal. In light of His absolute goal, He will bless us both individually and as the church.
(2) The prayer of each person who has truly understood the church is important.
a. The prayer of that one person will change the church. Do you know Prophet Nehemiah who wrote the Book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament? His nation fell by the hands of Persians, and he was taken captive to the Persian palace as a cupbearer. One day, he hears the news that the city of Jerusalem crumbled and the temple was destroyed, and he prays in tears fasting by himself. God moves the king’s heart and appoints Nehemiah as the governor, and Nehemiah restores the temple. All we need is one such person.
b. When such people gather one by one and pray together as a team, they can change the world. That is what happened at the Mark’s Upper Room Church in today’s Scripture reading. These unnamed people gathered, held on to Christ, God’s kingdom, and the power of the Holy Spirit as the covenant, and concentrated on prayer. In Acts 13:1-3, five people of different cultural backgrounds formed a team, prayed, and fasted, and eventually sent out Paul and Barnabas as the first missionaries in human history. The Missions Committee must group those who are interested in missions into teams so that they can get together and pray for respective countries.
(3) What happened next? God’s absolute work arose. The adjective “absolute” can be used only for God.
a. They experienced God’s absolute power. The power of the Holy Spirit like fire and wind came upon them and each individual changed. They were the same people who had fought over who would stand next to Jesus and run away in fear when Jesus bore the cross just forty days earlier.
b. They began to see God’s absolute vision. The eyes to see God’s plan opened. Only then can you connect with God. They were able to see God’s plan and vision in the midst of a problem. They were able to see the multiethnic from fifteen different nations. At One Mind Church, we must begin to pray to establish ministers and church officers who will do the gospel movement in every State (including Native Americans).
c. God’s absolute system was later established one by one (3,000 disciples and the blessing of the regional church). They gathered daily at the temple and one another’s home. Everywhere they gathered was the church. That is one heart, whole heart, and continuation. As they prayed holding on to only Christ, they went inside God’s absolute power (one heart). They connected with God and saw His absolute vision (whole heart). When they went out to the field without shaking, God’s kingdom came and the regional church was established everywhere they went (continuation).
May God begin a new work in your life. For that reason, may you restore the blessing of the true church.